mitch & char

mitch & char

Friday, August 28

Processing Swaziland

This recent trip was a powerful experience. I am once again renewed in heart and spirit for what we at BCB do to further the kingdom globally.  I have been a number of places, and have seen a lot of poverty the past few years, but there was something unique about this trip to Swaziland.  I did not see a child with even clean clothes, much less clothes of the proper size… the majority of children had some form of sickness(A-Lot of runny noses, coughs, rashes, ring-worm, etc).. and the sicknesses we did not see: Tuberculosis and HIV+.  


As I looked into the eyes of the children, the reality is this:  1 out of every 5 children we played with, touched, hugged and loved will potentially die in the next 2-3 years.  Around 50% of these children from our pictures have HIV.  But 100% of those children are loved every bit as much as you and I.  Life has just dealt them a circumstance that is the most extreme. 


We found ourselves asking yet again “Why was I born where I was”  “What makes me so special”… the answer: because to whom much is given, much is expected.  We looked at the sadness of the situation in the tiny country of Swaziland, and the few hundred people we saw.  I wonder how much sadness our Father has when He absorbs the pain and strife of the world?


With great sadness however, can come great joy.  I have found that as people go and have their hearts broken- the joy they experience is so much greater too(almost paralleling the deep level of grief).  Perhaps this is what God feels?  As He aches and hurts for our world, He experiences Joy to a heightened level when we respond the way He would if physically present.


I am grateful to be home, but certainly left a large piece of my heart in Africa.  Upon arrival back into the USA, we discovered that our friend Amy went to be with Jesus.  Cancer took her at 49 years old.  Her husband of 26 years is now alone(no children)… I would challenge you today to hug your family, neighbors, runny nosed kids, and everyone around you a bit more…though we have eternity, after seeing what has happened with Amy and Bennett, as well as the loss of the baby in Swaziland- the time we have here is TOO valuable to miss those opportunities.   My personal challenge(heard it somewhere recently-Suzanne-thank you!) is “Be kinder than necessary, because everyone you meet is fighting their own unique challenge today” –all the more reason to “be a sermon” as opposed to “preaching a sermon”.


Glad to be home, glad to get to serve with you in the next year ahead, and glad that He knows and has known every detail.


Acts 1:8 comes directly from our mission statement… if everything we do points to one aspect of that verse- I can only pray that He is glorified.



Tuesday, August 25

Swaziland mission team back in the USA. Now what will they do with all
they have seen?

Saturday, August 22


WHOO HOOO.. the day wrapped with WPFF BIG VBS!!!   The team had an amazing time, and I think the kids did too. (facepainting, balloons, stories and more)  We had donations before we came in the line of shoes, shirts, hats and quilts- all given to those with the most need.  There is still so much need here, and as you can see by the picture of Fran(guy) and Lucky(his sponsored child)-what an emotional draining day.  We had to say our goodbyes to the children today. 


This journey has only just begun- there will be years of understanding and trying to help in any way possible.  Many of the team have already asked how they can help when we get back to the states.  They are going to talk to their friends and churches and see if we can’t get more children sponsored.


Tomorrow it is off to church- and some fun shopping for trinkets and souvenirs.  Monday-we head home.. will leave here at 10am, drive across the border, catch a 6 pm flight out of Johannesburg South Africa, head 11 hours North to Frankfurt, wait a few hours, then 8 hours west to Chicago.  The team will then divide out- many hopping a 4 hour school bus ride back to Green Bay.


The next chapter of this blog is best told by all those that went… Seek them out,,, show GENUINE interest in what they have done and seen.  The hardest part for first time short term missionaries is having family and friends not show interest in something that has rocked their world and changed their hearts.


God bless you!


Until the next trip or event,


I remain at His service….mitch



Vbs has finished up here in Swaziland Africa. Team is off to eat
lunch and wipe their tears.

Friday, August 21

What an amazing day.  We saw HUGE giraffes in the wild, Rhinos, Hippos, and a python in the bush that was just starting to warm up enough to move.  Friday has just wrapped up here in Swaziland.  We played games, held babies, built a soccer field, moved dirt, played circle games(oh those kids can dance-you take turns going into the circle and dancing, then choose the next person)-over 100 kids in each circle. Held babies.. (oh wait, I said that already J ) and more.  The stark picture that was painted this morning about the baby passing away definitely shocked us all to the core, but the HOPE that remains is contagious.  It took the kids to remind us of that.  They snapped us back into reality of His grace and His love with a game called “First John 4” with more dancing and 1 person grabs one person-dances, then they each grab one-dance, they each grab one, etc, etc…


God is really stretching this team.  They have seen more than most teams that go overseas in such a short amount of time.  I believe there will be months, even years of processing it all.  But the Truth still holds-He is the same today, as He was yesterday-and His mercies are new every morning.


Tomorrow it is VBS (facepainting, crafts, games, songs, stories, all wrapped up in 9 booths, and we are preparing for 600+ children)


The pictures you are seeing above all tell their own story- Please pray for the kids and their families today.



Giraffes rhinos. Now kids.

Gods creation is amazing. The team got up at 4:30 this morning. Drove
into the bush. saw giraffes, rhinos, and hippos. Now-back to the
mercy centers to play with the kiddos and finish project work. The
reality of life just set in. We met a baby yesterday, he was very sick
and malnourished. We have to let the team know in about an hour...he
died last night. That is the severity of life here in Swaziland. But
there is hope for thousands of other children because of sponsors
through mission of mercy. I can not process the loss of life in just
24 hours. Oh how it must pain the Father to see His people sad. But I
am sure He has joy having a beautiful child with him.

Thursday, August 20

Lions, impalas, and kids. Oh my

Today-painted murals, built a soccer field, played with kids. Tonight-
chased by an angry African elephant, watched a big ol daddy lion eat
his freshly caught impala, and we ate wildabeast, impala, and
"unknown" bird for dinner. I would say a pretty productive day.

Tomorrow-look for giraffes, zebras, rhinos, and hippos. Then finish
project work and painting. Then prep for Saturdays big vbs!

Wednesday, August 19

Amazing day

--first of all, sorry about the lack of information- internet has been spotty at best.

Oh my, not much else to say but… WOW. We all met our sponsored children today. A powerful experience indeed. These kids have hope because people cared enough to sponsor them. It really is incredible to see what just $30/month can do. Food, Clothing, Education, and Hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ (and OHHH how they know Jesus!)

You are seeing pictures of the team at a picnic with their sponsored children. We brought them KFC, and I have never seen anyone clean meat from a bone like these kids. Most of us just let them have ours too-they needed it so much more than we did(they wanted to take some home for their families). They always seem to put other before themselves.

One little boy wanted to show us how strong he was, so we were obliged to take his picture. :-)

Most of the children in this neighborhood have to walk down to a filthy creek for water. It is about 1/2 mile away from us, and these fortunate kids had a wheelbarrow. The hard part is coming back up the 10% grade back to the house with full water containers.

Suzanne from WPFF/WNLI got to meet WPFF/WNLI Manager Dave Gordons sponsored child, play games and have an icecream cone with him. Infact, all of the team got to partcipate in that fashion with their kids.

There is a difference that we are seeing between those children that are sponsored, and those that just live in the neighborhoods. It is challenging to explain, but you can see Hope in eyes where there is despair in others. Jesus said that the poor will always be with us, I have to wonder if that means "financially poor" or perhaps(as I am coming to learn) it is WE who are poor-"Relationship poor". These neighborhoods know each other, love each other, and defend each other.... On the other hand, I know 1 of my neighbors, and once the garage door goes down-we seem to lock ourselves away in our homes. The poverty they face here in Swaziland can be reversed, and I believe that OURS can be too.

The kids are BEAUTIFUL, and tomorrow brings painting, dancing and playing. We will not be able to update you tomorrow night, but will try again on Friday evening here (Friday morning back in the USA)

GOD BLESS YOU.. Keep the team in your prayers. The emotions have really started surfacing.

Tuesday, August 18

Arrived in Swaziland

Just over 1 hour ago we arrived at the hotel. (hot showers for everyone)! It took quite a bit to get across the border (South Africa/Swaziland).. just a slower system than the developed world. What a beautiful country, and JUST the right team. From 16 to nearly 70 years old, boys, girls, women, men.. and everyone has begun developing friendships the past 48 hours(when you sit next to someone that has not showered for 2 days- they really do become your friend-because you are both too kind to tell the other just how bad they smell :-) )

Just a few pics attached. We stopped for a late lunch on the South African side (very clean, and modern... but tomorrow the team will see the harsh reality and living conditions they have only heard about). We had a 10 hour layover in Frankfurt-so we took everyone out of the airport for a few hours to see the city.

God is already working in hearts.. The anticipation of meeting the sponsored children tomorrow is so thick, you can nearly see it. One thing that never ceases to amaze me- 35 strangers get along incredibly well when the common purpose is being Christ's hands and feet. AMAZING.

More tomorrow- time to eat and get some sleep. (as long as we can get a few minutes of internet connection- we will do our best to get you some amazing stories and pictures) ..

ps-thursday night- a feast for kings(and the team does not know it yet.. shhhhh:-)--- Impalla (not the Chevy model either) and Wildabeast-- YUM!!

In jburg

Landed safe and sound in j-burg. 4 hour bus ride with 35 tired
missionaries and we will be in Swaziland.

Saturday, August 15

Gogo was her name-o

Gogo with our friend Sandra in Swaziland.  Gogo was more interested in figuring out the camera than smiling.  Sandra is an American missionary that has arranged everything on the ground for the team.  Tomorrow morning we begin the journey!


Tuesday, August 11

WPFF & WNLI Mission team to Swaziland

The time has come... the countdown is down to 1 hand (that's 5 days in case you were curious :-)) and the WPFF / WNLI radio team is ready. Painting, digging gardens, building playgrounds, and most importantly-Lovin on kids! We leave Sunday- and by tuesday night, we should have an update here for you.. pictures and all (that is, IF technology cooperates in Swaziland). This radio station believes in Acts 1:8 They are involved in Greenbay, Sturgeon Bay, Appleton (local) they are involved in the U.P. and clear down to Sheboygan(regional) and they are involved 1/2 way around the world. Amazing! Keep tuned here, updates are coming.

WPFF Mission’s team blog

Swaziland here we come.  Feel free to check out below( just some random thoughts from the trip leader, and a few previous trips)  but more importantly:

Check back often starting Tuesday-as we will try to update with pictures and stories from the field!


Monday, August 10

Swaziland this weekend

Where has the time gone? Soon this team will come together and jump the pond to make an impact on children with desperate need. The reality is that these 35 people will have their hearts and minds changed so much, that it may just rock eternity! The proverbial pebble in the pond.

It sure is easy to get comfortable with all of our “stuff” here at home.. for me, it was “oh no, the artwork does not match the sofa”.. as soon as those words left my mouth years ago(after our first mission trip) I realized exactly what I had said. I realized that it was “normal” for me to think that way. I have since adjusted my thinking, but often fall back into those old habits.

This trip will be life changing, as we are working with the Children of Swaziland. The average age there-19, the life expectancy-late 30s. Aids has and continues to take its toll. The media should be broadcasting from there everyday-as there is a generation missing. They have the highest per-capita Aids outbreak of any nation on the planet. Yet we find ourselves enamored with “The Stars”. I appreciated Michael Jacksons music, I watched Farah Fawcet, and loved it when Billy Mays shouted at me to buy his new product, but I am saddened that (I am guilty here, not judging anyone else but myself) we fall at the feet of Hollywood, and my blinders seem to creep in that much more from the peripheral of what is really important and happening all around us. It is so easy for me to sit on the sidelines and watch life go by…do you ever feel this way?

Today is such a precious gift-what if we could change the world? One person at a time? I recently read a great book called “Servolution” what an amazing way to connect with people at home, in our region, and around the world and truly be His hands and feet. As you ponder the injustice in the world, it is easy to become overwhelmed…”there are so many problems, what can I possibly do?”… you CAN change it one person at a time.. maybe the widow down the street that just needs someone to visit with, maybe it’s a handful of teenagers that need a good role model, perhaps it’s breathing life into a community ½ way around the world by sponsoring a child. It doesn’t matter what…it matters that you do. I have heard a lot of great sermons, but only met a few… how about you help me, and I will help you to be a “walking sermon”… and when I fail(and OH YES, I will fail) you can help dust me off and point me back in the right direction, and I will do the same for you!

I have discovered all kinds of poverty. There is “stuff(financial)” poverty, there is “starvation” type poverty, but we suffer from what may be the biggest poverty of all… “Relationship” Poverty. The garage door goes up, the garage door goes down, and we hide in our cocoons until the next day. What will it take to get back to block parties, card parties, neighborhood barbecues, and nurturing relationships right here at home… We have A LOT to learn from “The Third World”… we are NOT rich by any standard.

We leave soon, and will update this blog as regularly as possible with pictures and stories from the huts and homes of Swaziland! Thanks so much for your prayers.